Our shell in FFXI did a point system where you got X number of points for farming events (depending on how time consuming). Then for boss fights that dropped treasure, you placed a blind bid for the drops using as many of your points you wanted (we knew in advance who wanted what so as not to overlook anyone during the treasure pool window). So even someone who just started could get something no one particularly wanted, and it also prevented "point bloat" among those who were around awhile.
My HNM/endgame shell did something similar and it worked out quite well. Our shell was large enough that we had full teams of JP-time and NA-time ppl and you built up points by attendace.
2pts/hr on farming days
1pt/hr event days (sky, dyna, etc)
2pts/hr camping HNM's
3pts for kills of all bosses/NM's
Once something was killed and items dropped, there was open bidding for the items. Anyone could bid; it was all bout how many points you were willing to give up for an item. If no one wanted the item, it was sold and either bought pop sets or the gil was distributed amongst the members present once sold (These payouts happened periodically every few weeks). Sometimes people got really good stuff for cheap (saw Byakko's Haidate go for less than 20 pts because only 2 people were there that needed it) and other times semi-obscure items went for outrageous prices because 8 people that wanted it happened to be there that day. There was no rule on main jobs, no 2-week minimum, and no drama. Back in 2009~ I paid over 250 pts for my Kirin's Osode, but I got Oily Trousers, Black Tathlum, and an Ancient Torque all very easily by showing up regularly and being lucky that few people wanted those items when they dropped. I know this would not work for everyone, as has been stated numerous times already, but it rewarded both effort and luck. Few people have both, but most have one or the other.
Cool. One thing I appreciated about the system was that recruitment for new people worked much better. A common problem old Dynamis/Sky linkshells was that people had built up so much seniority that anyone new quickly saw how futile it was to hope for anything good anytime soon. So they'd go off and make new shells where their chances were much better, but they were deprived of the valuable experienced members. So I think this bridged that gap quite well.
Agreed. Nothing is worse than walking into your first Sky night, killing Kirin, seeing Osode drop, then seeing "Ok, so Xoie has first lot with 434 points." I think this works better than the ladder system, simply because it not only rewards attendance, but it makes the piece worth what the player will pay for it. I really appreciate it when a guild tells me "We want you to join and there are a handful of people with a lot of points. However, if they are not present and the item drops, you have a shot at it, and if it drops frequently in a short time-span your chances go up." I know endgame shells want commitment, but when you hear "2 weeks till lot" or "You'll need 150+ pts (equal to 1 month of work)," people tend to get discouraged and have lackluster, if any, attendance/effort.